No one wants a low conversion rate in recruiting.

All that says is, “You did a lot of work and there wasn’t a large ROI to the work.” When that happens for a long period of time (or even a shorter period of time, honestly) people become disengaged with what they’re doing. Disengaged recruiters are terrible for your company, because it’s going to reduce the quality of employee coming in.

So what can you do to improve your conversion rate? Some ideas:

Understand your data

The process needs to be good at the beginning if you want a quality hire at the end. But to be good at top of funnel, you need to understand your data points. Specifically, look at:

  • Qualified candidates per opening
  • Candidates by source
  • Days to offer

What can you learn from metrics like this? Well, in terms of candidates by source, you might be able to see that your career website is doing nothing for you — might be time for a redo — but recently you’ve been getting a lot of qualified candidates from an Instagram campaign. This should signal to you “Do more with Insta/social” and “Fix the career page to make it easier and more intuitive.”

Days to offer is an important metric because it covers a tighter window than “time to hire” and it shows how quickly someone can move through your entire funnel. If your funnel process is really long and bulky, you will end up alienating the best candidates.

Without knowing your numbers, it’s hard to improve anything in recruiting.

Build proactive pipelines

Hate to break this to you, but the best C++ or personalization expert in your area is off the market before an official job is even posted when a company needs him/her for a project.


Because the best recruiting teams build pipelines proactively, meaning they:

  • Network
  • Reach out
  • Attend events
  • Take people to coffee

… all before they have approved headcount or open reqs. They just do it to build relationships, learn about people, and understand their career arc. Then, when the headcount is approved, all they need to do is come in and explain the role and the compensation, and the rest of the relationship is already there. The highest-converting recruiters (and the highest-banking recruiters in agency work) all build proactive pipelines.

Communicate better

Nothing destroys a hiring funnel or candidate experience process like poor communication. This is the main area where tech can really help now; tech can help you build proactive pipelines, sure, but if you go meet someone for coffee and have no idea how to make conversation, you won’t do well. But tech can help with communication.

No. 1 reason most people give for poor communication is “I have no time.” True. We’re all busy, but that’s still a horrible excuse. If you were applying for a job, you’d want to be communicated with. We all do. So get back some time by using AI to automate top-of-funnel task work like sourcing and scheduling interviews. Now either you can communicate directly with candidates, or use tech again in the form of a chatbot program to answer FAQs and keep candidates updated on where the process stands.

Bad communication hurts employer brand and conversion rate. This is a hole you must plug.

Iterate and change

Look at your process every six months. Bring the data. Look at:

  • Projected hires for the next year
  • Current turnover
  • Turnover by division
  • Turnover by manager
  • Source of hire
  • Days to offer
  • Time to hire
  • Website conversion
  • Career board conversion

Have each recruiter talk to their specific numbers. Grill them on what they’re doing — good and bad. Have them learn from each other. And bring marketing into part of this meeting to discuss employer branding and possible campaign assets.

Make sure everyone’s on the same page at least 2-3 times/year with a big data and discussion meeting. Then plan next steps off that. If your conversion rates aren’t increasing from one meeting to the next, what needs to happen now? More tech? More time-freeing? Better relationship-building? Better value prop?

The bottom line: don’t get so caught up in task work that the big number you need, i.e. conversion rate, falls into the “too busy to deal with that” bucket. Make it a priority.


Deepti Yenireddy is the Founder and CEO of My Ally, the makers of Alex, an AI recruiting assistant. Prior to starting My Ally, Yenireddy was an investor at USGT Investors and Oppenheimer Funds. Yenireddy, who began her career as a Petrophysicist and Field Engineer at Shell and Schlumberger, studied Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and resides in San Jose.